MAYOR TRIES TO SNEAK IN HUGE PAY RAISE (UP TO 38%) FOR HIMSELF, CITY MANAGERS, AND ALL EXEMPT CITY EMPLOYEES … MANAGER PAY RAISES IN DOUBLE FIGURES, PAY HIKE OF EXEMPTS 5% … GREEDY INCREASE WOULD BE RETROACTIVE TO 2013, WILL COST TAXPAYERS COUNTLESS MILLIONS FOR NOR A PARTICLE MORE SERVICE
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
LATE, LATE WORD: DON’T TELL ANYONE, BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW!
The Boring Broadsheet is caught once again asleep, so THE PLANET shall break it. A meeting is scheduled today at at 10 a.m. city hall that could decide the fate of William Monterosso, the embattled head of Berkshire Works. Mayor Dan Bianchi, the genius who appointed suspended Monterosso, will meet with Alice Sweeney, director of the state Department of Career Services, and Heather Boulger, director of the county regional employment board. Our spies are humming the Dragnet theme for Monterosso, who sources say faces accusations of impropriety from staff members. Bianchi has suspended Monterosso with pay. After today, that status could be changed. “Dum de dum-dum. Dum de dum-dum DAHHHHHHH.”
But why is Sweeney, the state jobs honcho, in town for this local meeting? Is it to provide cover for Bianchi after he exonerates his fair-haired boy Monterosso? The betting is that this is the case — that the charges will be dropped and he will be brought back.
If Monterosso is brought back, may the Holy of Holies pity the poor folks still working at BW. They will have to erect two signs over the doorways: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter” going in and ”Arbeit Mach Frei” going out. “Sources tells us: “Berkshire Works has been in a state of suspended animation. No one knows what is going to happen. Monterosso remains in Pittsfield, so a return [by him to Berkshire Works] is possible. If he returns, further MCAD (Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination) complaints are likely. Your voice [THE PLANET] gives hope to the staff who otherwise feel powerless and hopeless against the powers that don’t seem to care about them or their mission.”
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We now return to our regular programming:
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014) — The Fix is In. Mayor Dan Bianchi wants an-almost 40% pay raise, and he wants you to pay for it.
In this cynical move, Bianchi reveals what he truly thinks of the good citizens of Pittsfield. He thinks you’re all suckers.
The mayor has filed legislation that could boost his $87,000 compensation nearly 40%. This is not a typo. He must think he’s the greatest statesman since Averill Harriman … or Pee Wee Herman. To help assure that this financially disastrous move will be approved, Bianchi seeks:
* Double-digit pay raises for all city managers and department heads,
* A 5% pay raise for all exempt city employees, and, just to scrub the taxpayers’ open would with an acid-dipped Brillo pad, the gluttonous mayor wants to:
* make all the pay raises retroactive effective to July 1, 2013.
Can this be real? Are we missing something?
When you add it all up, this pay raise, if passed by our Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council, will cost bedraggled taxpayers countless millions of dollars, in perpetuity, without a lick of productivity gain to show for it.
Pay Hike the Latest Move by This Clueless Mayor
If it has any consideration for the tough plight of citizens and if it at all has any sense of the dire financial straights of the city, the city council MUST — MUST — kill this measure. It should have, but didn’t, do the same for the year-after-year of pay raises for school department employees. Now it has another chance — not to rectify a wrong but to do a right.
And we don’t want to hear and lies about how underpaid these city employees are. Bullshit. There are too many poor citizens unemployed, underemployed, retired and living on fixed incomes, and just flat-out poor to allow Bianchi to get away with this most avaricious play. He is trying to line his own pockets, despite the horrible job he has done, and to boot get pay raises for his buddies. THIS MEASURE MUST SHOW UP ON THE DAIS DEAD ON ARRIVAL.
The pay grab in the hands of the council’s ordinance and rules subcommittee: Chris Connell, chair; Melissa Mazzeo, Jonathan Lothrop, Kathy Amuso, and Kevin Morandi. THE PLANET wonders how objective Connell can be with this measure, given that the mayor will be officiating at Connell’s wedding next month in Park Square (THE PLANET is not making this up)?
O&R will make a recommendation, which will then go to the full council. Again, the only sane vote given the financial straights of the city and its taxpayers is to reject it, flat out, unanimously.
Mayor Is Trying to Sneak His Money Grab Through with Little Attention; Picks Holy Week to Put It on Agenda
The Fix is In.
Sound familiar? It should. That’s become the new city motto under Bianchi, a.k.a., The Empty Suit. Fabricum Cheatorium, as we would decline it in Latin.
We focus your attention on how this little-noticed money-grab was initiated by the man who occupies the corner office and wears the title, though not the Big Boy Pants, of “Mayor.”
While Our Right Honorable Good Friends were “debating” the wisdom of buses and of Lady Light Weight‘s worthiness to serve Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski at the council’s most recent meeting on April 22, they quickly dispatched to Ordinance and Rules Agenda Item 11.
You can find it on the city council agenda, looking so innocent in that dry, boring, anonymous way that bureaucracy attempts to make solidity out of pure wind and to make murder respectable, to borrow that memorable wording from George Owell in his classy and satisfyingly vicious put down of politicians (“The Politics of Language”). Here’s the official wording of agenda item 11: “A Communication from Mayor Bianchi submitting an Ordinance amending the Code of the City of Pittsfield, Chapter 16, Personnel, Section 16-12(a).”
These seemingly innocuous words are like that friendly looking dog. Once you get near to pet him, he bares his fangs and savagely takes a piece of flesh.
These cardboard words from mayor, if approved, will put taxpayers on the hook for countless additional millions of dollars without any additional productivity or new services.
Does that have your attention? Any wonder why you didn’t read about this in that ordural rag, The Boring Broadsheet? They would no more run a story that made their corporate masters mad than they would try to fill every Pittsfield pothole with newsprint.
It used to be the mainstream press would get copies of the packets and examine the documents. That was when were was an independent mainstream press and not the current collection of Suit Toadies in the media, led by The Boring Broadsheet, whose mission it is to keep The Special Interests happy in return for a few advertising dollars. Fortunately, We The People have THE PLANET. We read the packet, down to the most Lilliputian footnote. Moreover, we don’t take advertising dollars.
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On April 16, 2014, our Right Honorable Good Friend city attorney Darren Lee, Esq., submitted the pay-raise paperwork for Hizzoner. Don’t blame Lee. That’s his job. April 16: Notice the timing of this request to shake down millions more from taxpayers without their receiving anything in return. Before we get into the ugly details, let us make two points that reveal Bianchi’s strategy:
(1) The Empty Suit, again, counts on no one picking up on this foul deed until it is too late.
(2) Depending on your point of view, the timing is both perfect and contemptible. To The Special Interests, the timing is perfect.
To The Little Guy, it’s contemptible. Lee submits the documents on April 16. The agenda isn’t prepared until Thursday. Friday was Good Friday, leading into the weekend — normally a time when government shuts down, but to add to the closure, Easter Saturday and Sunday. Monday was Patriot’s Day. Government closed. Tuesday brings us to the day the council meeting takes place. In other words, someone getting the agenda on Thursday would have no opportunity to vet this item until the day of the meeting itself. Just how they like it: No time for anyone to check into it.
OK, now the details. The first piece of paper in Lee’s submission on behalf of Bianchi is titled and prefaced by:
AMENDING THE CODE OF THE CITY OF PITTSFIELD
CHAPTER 16, PERSONNEL
That the Code of the City of Pittsfield, Chapter 16, Personnel, Sec. 16-12(a) Definition and adoption of compensation plan, be amended by deleting the following:
Accountant, assistant building commissioner, assistant city solicitor (that Darren Lee, by the way), building commissioner, city clerk, city engineer, city planner, city solicitor, commissioner of public services, community development and housing program manager, director of administration, director of the office of cultural development, director of council on aging, director of finance/treasurer, director of maintenance, director of personnel, director of public health, director of RSVP, director of veteran services, director of youth services, fire chief, parks manager, personnel manager, police chief, police crime analyst, purchasing agent, tax assessor, appraiser, and tax collector.
The measure would abolish the existing pay grades for all these people and replace them with a new set of gradations, M-1 though M-11 (the mayor, fire chief, and police chief being the top at M-11).
Each grade receives a minimum raise of 5%. The M-11 grade — again, mayor, the police chief, and the fire chief — increases the existing salary to, get this:
Minimum (learning): $92,213. It then allows further increases: $101,437,67, followed by $106,050, then $110,662.33, to the maximum of $119,887. It’s not even clear that the $119,887 salary is is the ceiling, since the new pay scale seems to allow for a mayoral plan “exceeding” that number.
Those of you who have to work for a living, especially in The Dreaded Private Sector, try asking your boss for a 40% pay raise. See What Happens.
Fortunately for mayor, his Boss, The Taxpayer, has lost all interest. Through some combination of apathy, disgust, and sadness over seeing a once-great city reduced to its present mendicant state, the true owners of government will idly sit by while their “representatives” rubber stamp the porking pay raise.
Or … or … or …
“You make dizzy, Miss Lizzy, the way you rock and roll.” — The Beatles, “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” (1965).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.